Professional Development 101: ‘After Hours’!

Last week I had the opportunity to go to a conference in Gatineau, Quebec.  It was a great week full of lots of professional learning…my brain is still spinning from all the new knowledge gained.  I can’t wait to share all this information with my colleagues back up north!  

I wasn’t sure I would know anyone when I registered for the conference.  Let’s just talk for a minute about what a small world this really is and how everyone seems to be connected by only 6 degrees of separation.  Within 15mins of the first evening I had found a former classmate from when I did my Master’s in ’07 – ’08, a guy that went to teacher’s college with a friend who lives in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut (I’ve known her since I was a kid when we frequently played with cabbage-patch-dolls together!).

By the end of the conference I had added in a few more connections some old and others brand new!!! Some of these included, two of my mum’s old colleagues that I had previously known.   I took some of the children I nannied to one of their programs and did a student placement while I was in Uni at another’s program. Then I also ran into a woman who I had asked into my classroom to speak to my ECE class while I was teaching in Winnipeg.  Then to top it all off…during one of the evenings there was live music complete with “contra” dances. (let’s just say I enjoyed the free-stylin’ as well as some good old fashioned line dancin’!) …so much fun!  At the end of the evening I went up to the band to say thanks for playing… and realized one of the fiddlers happened to be a guy that has come to Pang for the past 2+ years to do music camps with the youth there!  Talk about a small world…seriously!?

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The hotel where the conference was held was gorgeous…a really nice conference centre, and amazing front lobby, the rooms were pretty darn cozy too!  The glass work in the lobby was just so amazing.  I also could stare at the ‘dancing’ statue forever!   There was also an amazing gym, pool and hot tubs on the lower level! Ottawa-Gatineau_0002Ottawa-Gatineau_0003I started at some point during the week making sure to have a photo-opportunity for all the different ‘fabulous’ carpets I saw in the hotel.  Because I started on Day 2… I only got 4 different carpets…but believe me there were other ‘fabulous’ carpets I didn’t get a snap of. I think carpet are totally overlooked and are definitely worth documenting!  Ottawa-Gatineau_0001 The hotel was attached to a casino.  I had previously been to Casino Rama but honestly didn’t understand the whole slot machine thing!  So on the first night of the conference I went to the Casino with $20 and some of my new friends.  They were very helpful to explain how the slots worked, betting and how to get the money out of the slot on a slip of paper…  I left the Casino that first night  with winnings of $2.06…(such a high roller!) I kept the ticket but didn’t get the cash back…partly because I wasn’t sure how to get my cash back! But until later on in the week I returned, played a few more slots, then figured out how to cash out, and then left that place with my $8.71 in winnings! Ottawa-Gatineau_0004The opportunity to visit the Museum of Civilization was also presented to me.  I had never been…it was such an amazing afternoon to walk around for a few hours! I was surprised about how much knowledge of Canadian history and stories came pouring back into my mind as I walked around the museum (my BA is in History- I guess I did retain some of that knowledge!).

The food in one of the cafés was pretty fantastic too…I had an open-faced Lobster BLT and French Onion Soup with Blue Cheese…so yummy!  Ottawa-Gatineau_0007Ottawa-Gatineau_0012Ottawa-Gatineau_0013One of the temporary exhibits I really enjoyed was called… “Double Take: Portraits of Intriguing Canadians”…which will be open until October 2013!  It was really a fun exhibition.

Insightful. Revealing. Surprising. The exhibition Double Take – Portraits of Intriguing Canadians invites visitors to discover unsuspected or little-known aspects of 59 prominent personalities who left their mark on their times. Bringing together more than one hundred paintings, photographs and drawings, as well as artifacts, Double Take offers to take a fresh look at these renowned individuals who shaped the history of our nation.

In the hallway before you entered this exhibit there was a spot to ‘strike-a-pose’.  And there was a holder with all kinds of awesome frames… my friend and I totally took the time to strike a pose… We took way too many photos, so here are a few photos that I choose to share on the blog!

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Views from the Museum of Parliament Hill…Ottawa-Gatineau_0014Later on Friday night after dinner in the Byward Market... we stumbled upon a “Do-it-yourself Yogurt” Spot!  So yummy… basically you can pick from all kinds of different frozen yogurt… (I had vanilla and chocolate mixed and then had cookie-dough and red-velvet cake mixed together!) Then you can go and pick any of numerous toppings and sauces… then it is weighed and you pay by weight! It was such a fun idea… and apparently is the ‘best spoon in Ottawa!’ (At least that’s what it said on the wall at this place!)

Ottawa-Gatineau_0005 Ottawa-Gatineau_0006After yogurt my friend and I found a spot to listen to some live music…it was the perfect end to a great week!

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